11th Hussars

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For other uses, see 11th Hussars (disambiguation).
11th Hussars (Prince Albert's Own)
11th Hussars Badge.jpg
Badge of the 11th Hussars
Active 1715−1969

 Kingdom of Great Britain (1715–1800)

 United Kingdom (1801–1969)
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Type Cavalry
Role Line cavalry
Size Regiment
Nickname(s) The Cherry Pickers, The Cherrybums, from which the more genteel Cherubims
Motto Treu und Fest (Loyal and Sure)
Anniversaries El Alamein (23 October)
James Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan

The 11th Hussars (Prince Albert's Own) was a cavalry regiment of the British Army. It was established in 1715 as a regiment of dragoons, and served until amalgamated with the 10th Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales' Own) to form the Royal Hussars in 1969, which later became part of the King's Royal Hussars


The regiment was founded in 1715 as Colonel Philip Honeywood's Regiment of Dragoons and was known by the name of its Colonel until 1751 when it became the 11th Regiment of Dragoons. A further name change, to the 11th Regiment of Light Dragoons, occurred in 1783.

The regiment's career during the 18th century included fighting in Scotland at the Battle of Culloden as well as service in the Seven Years' War when it took part in the charge at Warburg.[1]

An officer of the 11th Hussars (PAO) at about the time of the Crimean War
The 11th Hussars from the Nile Expedition, 1884
Assistant Surgeon Henry Wilkin, 11th Hussars. He survived the Charge of the Light Brigade. Photo: Roger Fenton

19th and 20th centuries[edit]

During the Napoleonic Wars battle honours were received for Salamanca, Peninsular and Waterloo. The regiment's nickname, the Cherry Pickers, came from an incident during the Peninsular War, in which the 11th Light Dragoons (as the regiment was then named) were attacked while raiding an orchard at San Martin de Trebejo in Spain.

In 1840, the regiment was named after Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's consort, who later became the regiment's Colonel. When the regiment became the 11th (Prince Albert's Own) Hussars in 1840, its new uniform by coincidence included "cherry" (i.e. crimson) coloured trousers, unique among British regiments and worn since in most orders of uniform except battledress and fatigues. This was not in memory of the orchard incident but reflected the crimson livery of Prince Albert's house, Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.[2]

The 11th Hussars charged with the Light Brigade (25 October 1854), which was commanded by their former Colonel, Lord Cardigan, at Balaklava during the Crimean War. During the Charge, Lieutenant Alexander Robert Dunn, saved the life of two fellow soldiers from the 11th Hussars, Sergeant Major Robert Bentley and Private Harvey Levett, for which Dunn was awarded the Victoria Cross.[3] Dunn was the first Canadian-born recipient of the Victoria Cross.[4]

Edward Richard Woodham of the 11th Hussars became Chairman of the organising committee for the 21st Anniversary dinner held at Alexandra Palace on 25 October 1875 by the survivors of the Charge. This was fully reported in the Illustrated London News of 30 October 1875 [5] and included some of the recollections of the survivors including those of Woodham.

In the years before World War I, a post card, with a photograph of the 11th Hussars forming an escort through a town, was sent from Sergeant John Kelly, with an extract from the reverse reading "this is the Crown Prince of Germany your honourary Colonel he is in the uniform of the 11th Hussars you will see his ......Guard I further ..... I formed his escort marked 2 man...."

Alt text
11th Hussars escorting the Crown Prince of Germany

The inter-war years[edit]

In 1928, the 11th Hussars became the first British cavalry regiment to become mechanized. In 1936, it became involved in suppressing the Arab revolt in the British Mandate of Palestine.

The Second World War[edit]

In 1940, the 11th was located in Egypt when Italy declared war on Britain and France. It was part of the divisional troops of the 7th Armoured Division (known as the Desert Rats). Equipped with obsolete Rolls-Royce and Morris armoured cars, the unit immediately began to conduct various raids against Italian positions during the Western Desert Campaign. The Hussars captured Fort Capuzzo and, in an ambush east of Bardia, captured General Lastucci, the Engineer-in-Chief of the Italian Tenth Army.

The 11th Hussars were part of the British covering force when the Italian invasion of Egypt was launched in September 1940.

The regiment took part in the British counterattack called Operation Compass that was launched against the Italian forces in Egypt, and then Libya. It was part of an ad hoc combat unit called Combe Force that cut the retreating Tenth Army off near Beda Fomm. Lieutenant-Colonel John Combe was the commander and namesake of Combe Force. The Italians were unable to break through the defensive positions established by Combe Force and surrendered en-masse as the 6th Australian Division closed in on them from their rear.

Prior to the Normandy campaign, the 11th Hussars were removed from the division and assigned as a corps-level unit in accordance with Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery's view that all armoured car regiments would be assigned to corps, not divisions. Later in the European campaign, the regiment reverted to the 7th Armoured Division.

BAOR and amalgamation[edit]

In the 1950s, the regiment served in the British Army of the Rhine close to the border with USSR-occupied Germany, early in the Cold War. The regiment then served in the Malayan Emergency which lasted 12 years.

On 25 October 1969, the regiment was amalgamated with the 10th Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales's Own), to form The Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales's Own). In 1992, the Royal Hussars were amalgamated with the 14th/20th King's Hussars to form the King's Royal Hussars. The 11th Hussars are unofficially perpetuated by 'C' squadron of the King's Royal Hussars.

11th Hussars monument at the National Memorial Arboretum

Notable members[edit]

Battle honours[edit]

Colonels—with other names for the regiment[edit]

General Thomas Gage
as C-in-C British forces in North America
by John Singleton Copley circa 1768

The Kerr family provided the colonels for two thirds of the regiment's first century

11th Regiment of Dragoons

A royal warrant provided that in future regiments would not be known by their colonels' names, but by their "number or rank" on 1 July 1751

from 1783 11th Regiment of Light Dragoons
from 1840 11th (Prince Albert's Own) Hussars
from 1969 Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales's Own)
amalgamated with 10th Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales's Own)
from 1992 King's Royal Hussars
amalgamated with 14th/20th King's Hussars

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Reid, Stuart (1996); 1745, A Military History of the Last Jacobite Rising; Sarpedon 1996: 195–198.
  2. ^ "The King's Own Royal Hussars" — Part 9 of the "Regiment" series
  3. ^ The Victoria Cross: An Official Chronicle of the Deeds of Personal Valour Achieved in the Presence of the Enemy, O'Byrne Brothers, London, 1865
  4. ^ victoriacross.org
  5. ^ "Michael Julien's Family History". Archived from the original on 2009-09-24. Retrieved 2009-09-22. 

External links[edit]